While I firmly believe that a still photo can speak volumes about its subject, I will readily agree that movies can do pretty much the same. Any modern smart phone can take surprisingly good videos these days, and because your phone is so convenient you are apt to take vids where otherwise you might not.
You had your camera rolling when little Billy took his first step, while Sally attempted to bake her first cake, when that kid attempted a double back flip on his stunt bike, when that UFO took you while you were on your way home. Lots of little video snippets of your life tucked neatly in your pocket.
Goodness all around, right?
Well, not quite. See, movies, like the zillions of photos we take with out phones, usually wind staying on our phones, or our computers. We may, on occasion, share a funny clip here, or interesting fragment there, but most of what we shoot never gets seen. And what a shame that is.
It's true that every frame we shoot might not make Scorsese envious, but we can manage to get some pretty good stuff more often than not. Stuff that means something to us and those we care about. It would be nice if we could make those video bits into a coherent movie, something we can show off when the mood strikes.
Apple's answer to this movies quagmire is iMovie, a very capable and fairly easy to use app. I've created several movies with iMovie and the process can be a lot of fun. It can also be very time consuming, and that is a problem.Most folks these days have attention spans measured in seconds, using an app that can take hours to make a movie that plays for minutes often is overkill.
What would be cool is if we had a way to make movies quickly, without a lot of fuss. Something that produces nice, short vids using the stuff we shoot, then let us easily share the results.
Almost instant movies? Why not? As it turns out there are a bunch of instant movie apps to pick from (as you knew there would be), and a lot of them are free (as you know they must be). So hold on to your berets and let get to it.
Perfect Video Lite [1.7 MB, all iOS devices, iOS 5.0 or later, Developer: Yinfeng Tang]
Simple interface is what makes Perfect Video Lite perfect
Why would one use Perfect Video since iMovie is available? Two very good reasons:
It's fast and it's free.
Perfect Video removes the clutter, making it very easy to see what you're doing. You sacrifice some control, however. Even so, the interface and workflow is streamlined and super simple compared to iMovie. To add clips or photos you just select them, then arrange them in the order you'd like. Transitions are already in place between clips, but you can select and change them. In fact, you can change the duration of any segment just by tapping it and adjusting
You select you theme music the same way, however, you don't have much control over which part of the music plays.
Titling is available, but its a bit confusing and, frankly, could use some work. Once you're done you can preview the video, go back and make adjustments or export it to your camera roll. Easy peasy.
Whereas it may take you many minutes, even hours to produce a movie in iMovie you can make a reasonably good movie in Perfect Video Free in a fraction of the time. and it's free.
Drop n Roll [37.0 MB, all iOS devices, iOS 5.0 or later, Developer: New Photographers Burning Factory LTD]
Make movies PDQ with Drop n Roll
Drop n Roll takes the process of making movies to a whole new level of simplicity. Select from a list of predefined categories and themes, then pick the length of time for your movie (20 seconds, 1 or 2 minutes). Pick which clips you want to use, then hit the "Magic Up" button. After some brief chugging, you have a video!
Title it and make some minor adjustments, then when you're satisfied you can let the app render you movie. Afterwards you can share via email, Facebook, Viddy, or YouTube.
Again, you trade detailed control for simplicity. You can't control the theme music, where the videos are pulled from, or add stills. What Drop n Roll will do is dice up your selected videos so that they fill the selected time.
You can buy more themes and there's a subscription service that opens features for a limited time.
If you're looking to make a video quickly this could be what you need.
Takes [37.0 MB, all iOS devices, iOS 6.0 or later, Developer: Amit Man]
Pick the snippets and let Takes do the rest
Of the three, Takes is likely the most controlling. You do everything within the confines of the app, from shooting video snippets, to picking the music, to the finished movie. It's good because Takes is by far the easiest movie maker to use. It's not so good because you relinquish a lot of control. You don't control transitions, titles, or even whether you shoot in landscape. Stay within the confines of Takes, however, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you can produce a finished movie, complete with soundtrack. You can then export the movie to your camera roll, email, Facebook or Twitter.
Takes isn't really meant to for taking feature length movies, rather it's designed to capture small moments that might otherwise go uncaptured, and then make them easy to view and share. On the sharing side there's a social part where you can upload your Takes shots to a service kind of like Instagram where other Takes-ers can view your work.
Takes is definitely worth a serious look.
Ok, if you're looking to spice up you videos with a bit of special effects then you got to get Action Movie FX. It's free and includes a basic number of themes to pick from. With it you can add some really interesting, if somewhat violent special effects like a missile strike or helicopter crashing on your friend's car. Save the clip and add it to your movies. Fun times!
Get some real action in your vids with Action Movie FX
That's a wrap.
If you like a good race game then grab Asphalt 7: Heat. It's this week's Free App of the Week and its a good one.